When “Home For The Holidays” Isn’t an Option

As the holiday season is approaching, we are reminded of the many soldiers who are overseas and won’t see their families until next year, or longer. We must remember to thank them for the time they have given up to serve and protect, but we must also remember those who are serving in a different way. Continue reading

Prepping For Colder Weather: Running Gear That Will Keep You Moving

As an avid runner, I try to get outdoors atleast 9 months out of the year. But with that, I have to deal with some of the harsher winter months that make running comfortably a challenge. Whether it’s taking my gloves off to change my music, or having to adjust my hat 10 times, there are a lot of factors in the cold that can make you have to end your run. Luckily, I’ve found some great items over the years that have made this experience a lot better. Take a look! Continue reading

The Five Worst Duty Stations In The Army

This past week, Grunt Style Magazine did a short study to reveal the worst duty stations across the globe for Army personnel. At each duty station, families and soldiers often have a different experience. Some posts have excellent housing, but fall short in terms of the surrounding attractions. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Some posts are even known for their great amenities, or lack thereof.  Continue reading

Excuse me, what did you say?

I don’t know if there’s something in the air or what’s going on, but it seems like this week has been the week for bad comments/questions. Have you ever had weeks like that, where people just have no filter whatsoever? Continue reading

Keeping Your Identity In Your Military Relationship

Lets face it, we all get a little bit caught up sometimes. If you’re in a military relationship like myself, than you know exactly what I mean. We get so busy trying to plan around training cycles and deployments, that our life starts to have very little balance. I meet so many military girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses who are caught up in their loved ones goals, career, and duty, and they have lost who they are, and what they want. Continue reading

Learning The Ropes: From Acronyms to Army Ranks

Sometimes the hardest part about being in this lifestyle is simply the lack of clarification. Everything has a symbol, acronym, or hidden lingo that is far from obvious for the rest of us. Continue reading

How To Dress Your Best At a Military Ball

Each year, many spouses, fiances, and girlfriends get anxious for one very special event: The Military Ball. It’s a very exciting and proud moment to be in attendance, and it’s a rare, once-a-year occasion where we can celebrate their accomplishments with everyone present. From what to wear to how to act, the military ball sets a high standard for couples to be on their best behavior in front of their loved one’s coworkers and bosses. But one way to ensure that the night will start off great is by picking the right dress. Continue reading

Five Fun Runs That Donate to Our Military 

A great way to stay fit and involved is to find some road races/5k’s that donate to your favorite cause. So many people are intimidated by the term “race”, but I’ve done a couple of these and trust me, you don’t notice that part of it. The only thing you’ll be paying attention to for the first 10 minutes is the humbling sound of thousands of sneakers hitting the ground around you. Atleast, that’s what I was doing. Continue reading

How To Make The Most Out Of Those Pre-Deployment Days

Separation in the military happens more often than we’d like, and is not always due to deployment. Whether your loved one is leaving for BMT, MOS School, deployment, or training, one thing that helps you keep your mind off of it is planning some fun activities. Continue reading

Five Great Benefits for Military Couples

Military life is.. complicated. And navigating the various benefits that you and your spouse qualify for can be much the same. I’ve rounded up the key benefits, from discounts to services, that help us make the most of it.

VA

If you’re looking to buy a home, explore the options of a VA loan versus a regular home owner’s loan. VA loans often save you money in the long run, and help you to avoid the large down payment that’s usually required. If you’re a home buyer, they also ensure that any home you choose meets their qualifications and standards prior to the final sale. This helps to protect buyers from ending up in a home that may need costly repairs shortly after move in. See if you qualify for a VA loan, and learn more about the benefits here!

VACATIONS

If you’re a military family, you know how small the window of opportunity is for a vacation. You have to run around and get everything scheduled, and worry that plans could change at the last minute. And on top of that: it’s expensive.

Luckily, there are multiple airlines, hotels, and vacation attractions that offer major discounts to service members through online and over-the-phone booking! USAA offers travel discounts if you’re a member, along with Amtrak, TripAdvisor, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and Southwest Airlines (over the phone only). These discounts can be incredibly helpful whether it’s just the two of you, or the whole family.

Major airlines will also offer free checked baggage for active duty personnel and their spouses. We utilized this on our last vacation and were able to check 4 bags completely free, saving us over $120!

COUNSELING SERVICES

Any active duty service member can receive counseling through their military branch, whether it’s assistance with their education, finances, or mental health. There are a variety of free services and organizations that have been constructed with the primary goal to better the lives of the military community.

Many spouses and dependents don’t realize that these services are also obtainable for them. Counseling of any kind is offered in both individual and group based settings, allowing members to develop close ties to those in their situation. For more information on these services, check out Military One Source.

EDUCATION

This has been a tricky subject when it comes to military personnel’s benefits, especially when it seems to be changing every few years. This article by AmeriForce strives to help us all understand the GI Bill post 9/11, and the ways it can assist in providing an education for service members and their dependents.

There are also multiple scholarships that are completely separate from the GI Bill that can assist in paying for an education. These scholarships can be specific to military spouses and children that are within the requirements. They even have certain scholarships for specific degrees and licensing schools. You can find more info about the MYCAA Scholarship for military spouses here. For info about transferring these benefits, go to your installation’s Education Office and the office of Veteran’s Affairs.

RETAIL

Although the military provides a lot of the clothing and equipment that your service member needs, they can’t provide all of it. I can’t even imagine how many tan tee shirts, running shoes, and combat boots that we have purchased. And those things add up over time, making it difficult for many families to provide the items that are needed. It would be different if these were just things that they wanted. These are things that can make a very difficult job just a little bit easier.

Luckily, there are many retail stores that help ease that burden by providing discounts for service members. Stores such as Under Armor, Oakley, and Cabela’s often have the clothing and shoes that are necessary in order for them to do their job, and the discounts help significantly with the more expensive items. You can find a list of discounts here.

What are some benefits that have greatly helped your family?